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.45 ACP reloads, what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by hAkron, Feb 5, 2011.

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  1. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    I've only been reloading for a few months and I'm having lots of success with .38 Special, 9MM Luger, & .380. I'm having nothing but trouble with .45 ACP. I picked up some brown box 230 GR LRN bullets and I had lots of feeding issues where the gun wouldn't go into battery all the time, and when it did accuracy was poor. I put those on the shelf and picked up some nice Hornady 200GR XTP's. I noticed that my crimp (I seat and crimp in the same operation on my RCBS rock chucker single stage, also using RCBS dies) was probably a little too heavy, so i backed it off a bit and assembled 25 rounds and took those to the range today and after the first round had the same issue. When I got home I took out the barrel and did a drop test. I notice that the case wall sticks in the barrel so the bullet isn't dropping far enough in. To make sure the barrel wasn't out of spec I dropped in a factory round and it drops right in. I do notice that where the bullet sits in the case there is a slight but noticable buldge, but nothing worse than I've seen in some factory ammo I've used in the past. I checked the diameter on my caliper and it is .451" (or as close as I can tell as my caliper only reads up to hundredths of an inch). I'm using pickup brass, but the problem is common among many different brands. I am resizing all my brass in the resizing die, and flaring the case mouth the same way I do with all of the other types of hand gun Ammon I reload and my crimp looks like what I think it should, so what am I missing?
     
  2. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    Also, the COL is probably .01" shorter than factory ammo, so I don't think the bullet is too long. When I do the drop in test sometime I have to really pull to get the bullet back out (just with my fingers, never so bad that I need tools).
     
  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I load lots of LRN 230. I really don't "crimp" them. I just do enough to take the bell out....In your case, I'm wondering if either the bullets you are using are over size or your seating die is outta spec and not sizing the brass enough.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Color a loaded round with a black-magic marker and force it to chamber.

    Where the black rubs off is the problem.

    I'd almost bet the full diameter bullet shank is hitting the rifling leade on the XTP or cone shaped bullets.

    Taper Crimp so the case mouth measures .469" - to no more then .471", and they should chamber in anything if they are seated short enough to miss the rifling.

    rc
     
  5. jja327

    jja327 Member

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    Double check your dimensions. Where exactly did you measure 0.451?

    Lead bullets are 0.452 typically although some are 0.451. Copper jacketed are typically 0.451. I checked a dummy round loaded with 0.451 plated bullet which has been thorough a Lee factory crimp die. It measures 0.471 on the brass where the bullet is seated.

    I make up a few dummy rounds without primer or powder when working on a new load to get the dimensions right. I hand cycle the dummy rounds to make sure they function properly.

    The SAAMI website has cartridge dimensions which you can use to verify your rounds are sized correctly.
    http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/index.cfm

    I run my rounds though a Lee Factory Crimp die and verify with a LE Wilson cartridge gauge.
     
  6. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Some LRN 45's are a 'one radius' design and need to be loaded MUCH shorter for them to chamber properly.

    Here's my Lee 452-228-1R, you can see how deep they are loaded.

    [​IMG]

    Of course you'll have to lighten up the powder charge. A 'normal' FMJ has two radii, one that immediately slopes away from the case then another, tighter angle making the nose. Most LRN don't have that spiffy feature and will make contact with the chamber leade before the case mouth can 'clink'.

    BTW, ditto on crimping...just enough to remove the bell. Don't taper crimp them.
     
  7. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Your gun might have a tight chamber or a short leade in the throat. Make up a dummy round with a shorter OAL and see if that fits. If that doesn't work, then try changing your crimp.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Seat bullet deeper, shorter COL and/or taper crimp more.
     
  9. paperpuncher49

    paperpuncher49 Member

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    Try a drop test using a case that has only been sized. See if that chambers. That will tell you if the sizing die is at fault. Years ago I had a problem with 9mm cases sized with an RCBS sizer dropping into a Lone Wolf barrel (for a Glock). Lone Wolfs have a reputation of being "tight." The chamber in your .45 barrel might be very close in terms of tolerances. Interestingly enough, the same case sized in a Redding Die dropped right in. If a newly sized case drops in, then the problem is likely cropping up in a later sted in the reloading process. You should be expanding only enough to start the bullet easily, and then taper crimping it with the bullet seating die. If you are using a Lee Factory Crimp Die..........don't.
     
  10. noylj

    noylj Member

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    First, a comment about SAAMI COL:
    SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
    It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a
    guideline only.
    The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
    This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as 1) magazine length (space), 2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel,
    3) ogive or profile of the projectile and 4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
    As stated above, you should always make up one or two inert "dummy" rounds when you are setting up your dies and you use them to verify that your rounds will fit your magazine and feed and chamber in your gun.
    It is a good idea to have the barrel or cylinder of you gun with you on the bench when you are setting up to load. As you see, the barrel is THE case gage. Labeling the inert "dummy" with the bullet used will allow you to use them to set-up your seating die when/if you return to that bullet.
    If you are going to try lead bullets, you should take one of the lead bullets you have and crush it slightly in a vice to bring the diameter up to about 0.454", apply some oil to the bullet, drop it in you cahmber, and, using a wooden dowel, pound it down your barrel. You don't need to drive it all the way to the muzzle, but it does need to go about 1" into the rifling (and then from the muzzle end you can pound the bullet back out). Measure the groove diameter. Be sure any lead bullets you get are at least 0.001" larger than this.
    Next, when you are setting up your dies and making up the inert rounds, seat the bullet to the longest COL that will fit in your magazine. After you remove enough of the case mouth belling to fit in the barrel, you can determine if the round will chamber. Marking the ogive and case mouth with a grease pencil or magic-marker to determine if the hang up is because the COL is still too long or the case bulge, or the case bulge.
     
  11. nate_o23

    nate_o23 Member

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    Newbie question but I was under the impression that you shouldnt crimp 45acp because it headspaces on the rim???
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  13. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    45 acp headspaces on the cartridge case mouth, not the rim. You have to taper crimp if you want it to feed and chamber right. don't believe mr. Lee that his seater/crimper does both...taper or roll. Mutually exclusive. To do a great job, you need to seat, then taper crimp.
     
  14. 454PB

    454PB Member

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    + 1 on what PapaG said. First, make up a dummy round and make sure the bullet is seated deeply enough, then apply a light taper crimp in a separate step. Seating and crimping at the same time can cause bulges at the case mouth.....right where is is supposed to headspace. I'm not saying it WILL cause a bulge, just that it can. Over the years, I learned to seat and crimp in separate steps for everything that requires a crimp.
     
  15. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    I hope to never learn this. Nor to clean primer pockets. So far, so good! :)
     
  16. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    Is it possible that I'm still using too much crimp, and maybe I'm inadvertently bulging the case? The RCBS directions for setting crimp and seating depth are kind of confusing. I've been using the following methodology - Set the seating die down until it touches the top of the case, then go about a half to a quarter turn more, then start lowing the seating die a little bit at a time and measure it each time once you get close until the COL is at or under the max COL then do a drop in test and make sure it sits about the same spot a factory round sits and that the crimp looks about how a factory round looks. Then put a test bullet in the magazine and make sure it feeds without too much trouble. By the way, the .45 in question is a Springfield 1911 MilSpec - I doubt that makes any difference but I want to make sure anybody who bothers to read this has as much information as possible. Would it be advisable to get a Lee factory crimp die and seat and crimp in separate steps? I'm kind of rambling here, but like I said I've only been reloading for a couple of months, and .45 seems to be the only thing giving me trouble.
     
  17. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Sounds like you're doing it right. I doubt you can bulge the case that badly where it won't chamber all the way, esp if you can't see the difference between a factory round. The money is on too long an OAL. Your OAL may be exacly the same as the factory round, but you have to consider that the bullet shape can be subtly different. Please try shortening your OAL to see what happens. Most everyone who posted has suggested you try this for a reason!

    Side note:
    Sure, this is possible. You can easily make a crimp ring that does both. There's no reason they are mutually exclusive. A light taper crimp just removes the flare. Put die down farther, and you get a roll crimp, with just the barest bit of taper leading up to the roll crimp. What's the problem?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  18. James2

    James2 Member

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    A slight bulge where the bottom of the bullet is, is OK. That is to be expected. Not a problem. A bulge anywhere else on the brass is a problem. An improperly adjusted crimp and seating die can create a bulge close to the case mouth. This is a problem and can make the round fit tight.

    Here is a good way to adjust the die to crimp properly: Screw the die body out two turns, now run an uncharged brass to top of stroke. It should go all the way up without hitting the crimp ring. If it does hit the crimp ring, back it out a bit more. You need it at top of stroke without hitting the crimp ring. Now holding it there screw the die in until you feel it hit the crimp ring. This is the point where it will start to make the crimp. Lower the casing and screw the lock ring down until it hits bottom. Now you need to seat a bullet. You can make a dummy if you wish, but slowly seat a bullet and adjust the seating stem to get the correct over all length. Once this is accomplished, look at the crimp. There should not be any. On 45 ACP all that is necessary is to push the bell in against the bullet.

    Back the seating punch out a couple of turns. You don't want to seat the bullet deeper while fussing with the crimp.

    Now back the lock ring off a little and turn the die in a little. (A very little. you can do a bit more, but you can't take it back) Run it up. Look at the crimp. If more is needed, turn the die in a bit, run the casing up again. Look at the crimp. Repeat as nesessary until the crimp looks right. Now you can run the casing up to top of stroke and screw the seating punch back down to touch the bullet. Now you can seat and crimp in one operation. If your lock ring has a set screw, you can tighten the screw to lock the ring. Set the lock on the seating punch too.

    If this doesn't chamber right, there are some good pointers above about seating depth, bullet shape and coloring a round to see where it is rubbing. You may have to seat a bit deeper.

    ......................

    You said, "Set the seating die down until it touches the top of the case, then go about a half to a quarter turn more, "

    Too much for starters on a taper crimp. Half a turn on a 14 tpi thread is a bunch. Try what I said.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Dang, I must have been half asleep. :eek:

    As long as the bell is removed 99% of chambers will not have a problem.

    There is so little crimp going on in such a short space when seating and crimping simultaneously with .45 ACP it works just as well as crimping separately.

    There are some crimp operations that must be done separately from seating, but .45 ACP is not one of them.

    Agreed. The dies have a modified roll crimp ledge. It roll crimps. To say if we only just touch that edge is a taper crimp is simply wrong. The Redding Profile Crimp die actually does have both. If you look inside the die there is a taper crimp surface leading into a roll crimp ledge. It still is really only intended to roll crimp though. To taper crimp it is much better to buy a taper crimp die.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Crimp Pic

    [​IMG]
     
  21. dhfenno

    dhfenno Member

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    Sounds like a crimping issue.
    Also be sure to stay away from Amerc brass.
     
  22. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    When loading lead bullets I typically don't need to bell the cases.
    I chamfer really well and as long as I'm not shaving any lead off the bullets I'm ok.
    I then chamber check a few to see if they're ok.

    A crimp reduces the amount of force required to setback a bullet and you can see this for yourself.
    Take 2 identical unprimed cases and 2 identical bullets. Crimp one of them and don't crimp the other and measure the OAL of each. Stand a 4' long piece of rigid 1/2" copper pipe straight up on a concrete floor and drop one of the dummy rounds down it with the bullet pointing up. Remove the cartridge and measure the setback then repeat the test with the other cartridge. You will see that the crimped round has more setback.
    This is why I try to limit the amount of crimping that I put on a case.
    If you notice factory ammo isnt crimped either.


    As others have already mentioned whenever you get a new bullet that you've never used before make up a dummy round, remove your barrel and do a plunk test to find your Max. OAL for that particular bullet and that particular barrel.

    Lyman sells a "Reloaders Data Log" book for around $7.00 which eneables you to log all components, dimensions, accuracy, weather conditions, firearm, along with your comments on a particular load. It's a 50 page book so you can keep lots of data together.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  23. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    +2 Mr. Lee may be an innovative man, but I can assure you he cannot make a die that applies a roll crimp AND a taper crimp. Now, his die may roll crimp and remove the bell from the mouth of the case, but that's still not taper crimping. A taper crimp literally "irons" or swages the case mounth tight against the bullet.
    I've been loading for my Colt Series 70 Gov't Model for nearly 30 years now. It's one of those old school .45's that wasn't designed to feed anything but ball ammo. Over the years I gradually got the feed ramp/barrel polished so it would feed, but I learned early on that a good crimp, especially when shooting SWC's is essential. And many times you won't realize the need for it until you un-chamber a loaded round and see that during the feeding prcess the bullet was shoved back in the case. Never, ever roll crimp a 45ACP that's being fired in an automatic.
    hAkron, it sounds as though the brown box bullets may be either too large in diameter or out of round. Either way a good taper crimper would likely solve your problem.

    35W
     
  24. 918v

    918v Member

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    Load those XTP's to 1.200" OAL.

    Separate the seating from the crimping.

    Crimp minimally, just enough to remove the bell so the round drops in and out of the chamber easily.
     
  25. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Here's a couple more tips on crimping 45acp. Too much taper crimp on a jacketed bullet can swage the bullet down to where it will telescope into the case...bad deal. I learned this the hard way.

    A good way to tell if you have the correct crimp is to measure as mentioned by one of the other writers. A test, along with dropping them into the chamber...where they should drop in and drop out, is to push the bullet against a bathroom scale...it should not move with up to thirty or so pounds of pressure. If it telescopes, there isn't enough ( or there might have been too much and you collapsed the bullet diameter).

    Been doing this for fifty years and still ain't learned it all but I can make darn good loads that shoot well in my Eclipse Target, my Norinco, my 625, and a couple of other nice little acps....and a Blackhawk convertible.

    The problem with roll crimping, other than it messes up the headspacing, is that a heavy roll crimp can bulge a little and interfere with chambering.
     
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